When you begin the process of getting your affairs in order, you should create a paper trail to lead your heirs to your Florida estate planning documents and other pertinent information. When you have a sufficient paper trail, which you can get help with from a Fort Myers estate planning attorney, your heirs may have a simpler time dealing with the administration of your estate.
What to Include in Your Paper Trail
Your paper trail should lead to the following:
- · your last will and testament;
- · revocable trust and/or irrevocable trust;
- · brokerage and bank account information;
- · life insurance policies;
- · tax returns and gift tax returns; and
- · the names and contact information of any professional advisors, including your attorney, financial advisor and accountant.
Keep in mind that Florida estate planning requires continual monitoring due to the transient nature of this state. With many people moving around every couple of years, documents sometimes fail to get updated in a timely manner when people move in or out of the state.
When you have a paper trail, your heirs can obtain the contact information for the attorney who has your original documents or copies of those documents. If your heirs lack this information, they may not know who to contact when you die or how to get possession of your Florida estate planning documents.
If your heirs can't access your documents, they may never know the ultimate beneficiaries or who you intended to serve as your personal representative. Additionally, your estate could be handled as if you died without a will, in which Florida intestate statutes would come into play.
Information Regarding Financial Assets
It can be very difficult to search for the financial advisor and assets of a decedent. With banks often merging and financial institutions refusing to verify or release information, it can take a significant amount of time to track down real estate holdings and financial accounts.
You can help your heirs by making a list that includes:
- · all financial institutions with which you do business;
- · your account numbers; and
- · the location of all real property.
This information should be updated annually and be kept in a safe place to protect yourself from identify theft.
At a minimum, your heirs should be provided with the name of your attorney and financial advisor. For peace of mind, you should meet with a Fort Myers estate planning attorney to ensure that your wishes will be carried out upon your demise.
Help from a Fort Myers Estate Planning Attorney is Just a Phone Call Away
Estate planning attorney Matthew A. Linde understands firsthand the importance of careful estate planning and the complexities of financial legal matters, such as probate, tax litigation and guardianship. For help with your estate planning concerns, contact our Fort Myers office to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a professional who can answer your questions – 1-239-939-7100 or 1-844-764-5492.